Three Keys to Creating Thumb-Stopping Social Media Content

Three Keys to Creating Thumb-Stopping Social Media Content

Three Keys to Creating Thumb-Stopping Social Media Content

So, you want to create successful social media content? It’s not as easy as it seems. Social isn’t the place to take your brand’s 15 second TV spot and post it on Instagram, but too often, it happens. Social has its own rhythm, it has its own flow, its own look and feel, and audiences expect branded content to fit in, or else it’s going to feel inauthentic, forced, and not perform well. Does that mean every piece of content that’s published on your brand’s social channels is created only for social? Not exactly. Here’s a quick and dirty look at how to approach creating thumb-stopping social media content.

1. Start with a Solid Strategy

Before you decide what content to post on social media, you must have a strategy. Understanding your audience, what channels they’re on, what they’re looking for from brands on social, and marrying that with your business objectives will go a long way in helping you understand what to post where.

When working with clients, we also like to develop visual guidelines for social. They typically start with existing brand guidelines but combine with our knowledge of platform best practices to create a look and feel that’s right for the brand, but also feels right in the social space. Things like incorporating branding in the image or video vs. in an overlay or using the more “real-life” food shot with a few crumbs on the counter instead of the cleaned up and very food-styled, retouched menu image of the dish comes into play here.

2. Build a Robust Content Library

Once you have a strategy, you need content to publish. Where can it come from? The possibilities really are endless but building a robust content library will help you have the best assets at hand and understand where you may have gaps. It’s always great to start with existing marketing assets. They may not be fit for social as-is, but we’ll get to that. Add them to your library. Have an upcoming photoshoot scheduled? Send your social team and have them on-site to capture social-first content (think boomerangs, slow motion video, time-lapses, behind-the-scenes shots, etc.). It’s a great, and often overlooked way to maximize the time and money spent on location, talent, props, and more. The same goes for events. User-generated content can be another great source for assets, and depending on your brand, employee-generated content could work, too. If your brand has run influencer programs, those assets can be very successfully repurposed as well. And of course, custom-shot social content can help round everything out and fill in any gaps. 

3. Edit with a Social-first Frame of Mind

This is where the previously mentioned content really comes to life… where the strategy meets the possibilities of the platforms, driven by the imaginations of the content producers and community managers behind the scenes. Some things that are important to keep in mind at this stage are formatting the content for the channel it’s being posted on, leveraging the tools that are native to those platforms for a really authentic feel, leveraging different content types for a unique user experience, and robust content mix, and formatting the posts themselves for the objective, which sounds obvious, but is often overlooked.

Screenshot of Instagram Stories native features along side a Facebook post from Visit The Outer Banks displaying a bold headline, CTA button, and the entire image and button are clickable.

(The features built into Instagram Stories help make the content feel like a natural fit for the platform. The objective of this post is for users to sign up for a newsletter, so the post is formatted for link clicks with a bold headline, CTA button, and where the entire image and button are clickable.)

As you can see, we approach each and every piece of content and social media post with intention, but hopefully, this gives you some insight into the process and how it could work for your brand.

Would you rather us handle the heavy lifting? We’re more than happy to help. Contact us or subscribe to our newsletter below!

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